Meshuggah – Dancing to a Discordant System

Hands down, the five members of Meshuggah are the unsung heroes of contemporary musical composition. Since forming in 1987, the band has become an irrevocable driving force behind extreme metal. And while their contributions are well recognized within their genre, they are one of the most important forces of ingenuity across all musical traditions regardless of personal taste.

Jens Kidman

Jens Kidman

Meshuggah has long since carved a niche for itself through a ceaselessly progressive approach to music. The band often experiments with insanely complicated polyrhythms and alternate tunings on custom-built eight-string guitars in an effort to keep their work untainted by convention. Yet while their music is technically complex, the creative drive is focused rather on writing songs that bring the listener outside of his or herself. In an interview, Mårten Hagström elaborates, “it doesn’t matter if something is hard to play or not. The thing is, what does it do to your mind when you listen to it? Where does it take you?”

Tomas Haake

Tomas Haake

Perhaps it is because they don’t entertain a mainstream audience that the progressive character of the band has been unwavering throughout the last 25 years. In lieu of worrying about sales, the core focus of the band lies in exploration – not only of each member’s creative capacity, but also the limits of what we define as music.

If you’re feeling adventuresome, check out the video below of their live 2010 performance of “Perpetual Black Second” in Tokyo and be sure to track down their recently-released LP entitled “Koloss.”

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2 thoughts on “Meshuggah – Dancing to a Discordant System

  1. Wild! For some reason it reminds me of a Kronos quartet piece from the 80s that incorporated train whistles, weird sounds, and spoken phrases as part of the music. Totally different genre, of course, but both stretch one’s idea of what can be called music. Not sure I’d like to listen to a lot of either, but I enjoy being challenged.

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